Do Me A Solid: TOMS Give Shop

A few weeks ago, we were invited to check out a creative holiday pop-up shop that wasn’t all about sales, shopping or spending money. The TOMS Give Shop was instead about giving back to all of the people that have supported the charitable company since its inception. And with the recent, tragic news from Connecticut, we thought we’d share a positive story about helping children, especially at this time of year.



The Give Shop was held just a hop, skip and a jump away from our office, so we headed over after work one day to check it out. Inside, we found an adorable set-up of activities and information about the work that TOMS does, all themed in a spirit of the holidays.



There, you could have a photo taken with some amazing props (reindeer antlers, Santa aprons, ugly Christmas sweaters and more), which you’d then bring over to another station to make your very own snow globe.

Abby and Natalie.


Natalie makes a snow globe.



There was a spot where you could fill out a pledge – something that you planned to do more of or be better at in the new year, in exchange for a small gift from TOMS.

Write a pledge – and stick with it.



There were tasty drinks, cupcakes and spots to sit and read all about good stuff that’s happened with TOMS since the company began in 2006.

You know we love a good DIY cupcake.



You very likely know what the TOMS mandate is (in fact, we’ve mentioned it on here before), but here’s the background: founder Blake Mycoskie was travelling in Argentina when he noticed that many of the children he saw were barefoot. TOMS was born, with the basic premise that with every pair of shoes purchased, another would be given to a child who needed them. Within his first year, Myscoskie returned to Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes to distribute – a pretty healthy start.


Since then, TOMS has donated millions of pairs of shoes to children in more than 40 countries around the world.


They work with humanitarian organizations that have a long-term presence in the country they’re giving to, and don’t give once and leave. Since children grow out of shoes, they work to establish relationships that allow them to continue providing shoes to a community. They work with local businesses to make sure they’re not negatively impacted, and children who receive TOMS get them as part of a bigger health and educational program.



Most importantly, they’re pretty rigourous about ensuring that no children are involved in manufacturing their shoes, and hire third-party sources to verify that there is no child labour and everyone receives fair wages.


Fun fact: there is no Tom that inspired the name. It’s a shortened form of “Shoes for a Better Tomorrow”.


For more about how TOMS gives, check out their Giving Report. They also host the annual “One Day Without Shoes” event to raise awareness about their work, details of which are here. They’ve also recently launched the One for One Movement with eyewear, providing glasses for people in need.


All images courtesy of Rooftop Agency

Fashion-able: Fresh spring kicks

With last week’s blast of warm weather, we gleefully ran to our closets and started to pull out our spring staples: shorts, skirts, dresses…Since technically it is spring, it got us thinking about what shoes we’ll need this season. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our classic favourites and new kicks we’re coveting for this season.

And hey, you can never really have enough shoes, right? 

If you’re looking for some investment pieces, these Gucci Tri-color suede platform sandals with a splash of mint (we adore mint) are great for spring, and can be transitioned into colder weather with some opaque black tights. 



An alternative to leopard, these Haircalf Giraffe Slipper by Charles Philip offer “cushioned leather insole, an indented toe flap and rubber soles. They arrive packaged in a beautiful box, encased in a shoe bag and scented with tiny sachets – how precious!” Precious, indeed

Love Jeffrey Campbell but want a break from the ubiquitous Lita? This spring try out something new – there are a myriad of interesting styles including this gem, the Rockette Wedge.

Hooked on flats? This Aztec flat available at Dealuxe from Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent is an office-appropriate boost of colour that makes us happy to just look at it. 

We’re pretty sure you can wear these Alexander Wang Chloe perch-trimmed leather sandals (bit of a mouthful) just about anywhere. The neutral colours with a pop of “perch” (a pretty peachy-coral) would look great with some black skinny jeans and a white tee. 



We can’t write this post without mentioning a favourite on the fourth floor – a nice crisp pair of white Converse Chuck Taylor All Star’s. We’re personally fans of the low cut, but the high tops are fun too. Classic, comfortable, stylish and great for riding a bike or wearing with jeans or shorts. 

ALDO’s Calcagni wedges – if we can wear these many hours a day without (too much) pain – you know they’re a good thing. This season they come in a variety of colours from neutrals to neons and can add a little cheap and cheerful punch to any ensemble. Highlighter yellow? Why not?




ShoeMint always offers amazing styles with their collections, and when fashion icon Rachel Bilson and visionary celeb stylist Nicole Chavez are designing, we can’t help but shop. 
We’re so excited about the warm weather and the shoe options to come. Now only to decide on pedi colours…

Media, Darling: Rita Zekas

Rita Zekas is an entertainment/lifestyle/fashion/decor writer. She originated the paparazzi page/gossip column Star Gazing for the Toronto Star and stalked bold face for decades, before returning to her former love — shopping — doing retail detail in her Store Gazing column in the Toronto Star. She can be found in better stores everywhere — usually in the shoe department.
 

Twitter:  @TorontoStar
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I was going to be a best-selling novelist, writing from a cliffside white-washed cottage in some random sunny port in Greece.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Reading in an oversized chair overlooking the olive groves in a mountain-top villa on the Tuscan/Umbrian border in Italy.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be prepared to work with little remuneration and even less sleep. Deadlines, baby.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I listen to CBC Radio and NPR when I can get it. I read the New York Times online and in print on Thursdays and Sundays — those two days for the Style Sections.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Best is Betsey Johnson, who has such a great persona, she could have enticed me to turn cartwheels on the catwalk with her.

Worst is Ivana Trump, who spent most of the time screaming invectives at her minions over the phone.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t Google yourself.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Do your research and never spear the easy targets.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t double dip. If you have snared an interview with a media outlet, don’t book another one with a different writer. It wastes everybody’s time.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Working with PR pros like Pru Emery, who was the doyenne of PR people and her successor, who I would have to say is Deb Goldblatt. They just grease the interview process so it’s in and out and no one gets hurt. Or bored.

I hate? 

Rudeness.

I love?
Shoes.

Reading?
Autobiographies. Everyone, even Einstein inevitably was dissuaded from following their basic instincts. And I read everything by David Sedaris, a comedic genius.

Best place on earth?
Italy.

Dinner guest?
I don’t cook; I reheat.

Hero?
Cancer survivors.

Favourite app?
I don’t app.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

Rave: Designer Consignment at Labels or Love

When it comes to consignment in the city, Jeanne Becker goes to Labels or Love. As a woman who knows a thing or two about fashion, where Jeanne goes, we follow. We headed to Labels or Love to sit down with the store owner and former stylist, Meytal Algranti Shekter.  There, we talked trends, labels and babies (she’s a new mom to baby Kole). 

Fourth Floor: How do you make consignment current each season?

Meytal: I am very particular about what comes into the store. With the exception of exceptional vintage pieces, if its not relevant and current in fashion, I won’t keep it.

Fourth Floor: You deal with some very high-end merchandise. What is the most outrageous sale you have ever made?

Meytal: In my first month of opening, I had a woman come and literally spend $6,500 in under 10 minutes. She was in and she was out, just like that. Let’s just say it was a great beginning to my business venture!

Fourth Floor: How does the consignment shopping experience differ from department store shopping?

Meytal: Consignment shopping is about the thrill of the find. Fifty to 60 per cent of my store is brand new and in-season items. To buy something that’s still in the department stores for less than half of the retail price is pretty rare.

Fourth Floor: What keeps consignment shoppers coming back time and time again?

Meytal: I have the best stuff for the best prices, and every shopper dreams of designer labels at discount prices. This is not just any consignment store, it’s a high-end boutique. I really do get the best of the best.

Fourth Floor: What is your favourite consignment purchase you have ever made?

Meytal: I bought a vintage red jumbo Chanel bag that I can’t live without. It’s ridiculous and so rare, the best purchase of my life. I also bought an amazing new Stella McCartney jumpsuit. Chanel or Stella? I can’t choose.

Fourth Floor: Your store was recently picked by Jeanne Becker as one of the top 100 shops of Toronto. What did that feel like?

Meytal: There are really no words to describe it, but if I have to choose some, I would say RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING!

Since there’s nothing like browsing for clothes online, we’re bringing Labels or Love directly to your desk. Check out some of our favourite fab finds from the store here:


These Valentino leather strappy heels in cognac are amazing.


This cropped Giambattista Valli jacket is cutting edge meets refined elegance.



Classic Chanel, no explanations needed for this 2.55 bag.  


Take a turn walking in her shoes… her Gucci open toe lambskin booties, that is.


You don’t need a bike to wear Balenciaga’s Motorcycle bag. 



Hey Jeanne – race you there!

Fashion-able: Check it out, bro(gue)

Unless you live under a rock, you’ll have noticed that everyone is sporting boyish, old fashioned looking shoes called brogues (or Oxfords). These little shoes are cute, but some of us here on the fourth floor aren’t sure how to wear them. This is what (super stylish) Abby thinks:

  • A funky colour makes them stand out, like silver, gold or bright blue. Wear with a simple outfit, like tights and a white tee to make it nice and easy.
  • To make them more casual, take out the laces (if you can), or buy a laceless pair. Roll-up your boyfriend jeans and rock them without socks.
  •  Wear a super-girly print sundress to balance out the boyishness of the classic white and black brogue.
What we love most about brogues is they’ll look cute in spring, summer and fall, making them a great investment for the next few seasons. Zing!